WRITERLY WEDNESDAY: Camp NaNo Week Four Roundup

<cue Europe’s “The Final Countdown“>

Two more days and Camp NaNo closes for another couple of months.

Have a bit of bad news, then we’ll zoom into the good. First up, I got an email regarding my internship application to the literary agency. They said they were going with another candidate. It was a personalized rejection, and I appreciated the person taking the time to do that. While that would’ve been an amazing intro to the publishing industry, let’s look at the bright side here. The position would’ve been for three months. There’s no guarantee that they would ask me to stay on with the agency. Besides, this was literally my first attempt at diving into the biz and I’m 99.9% sure there were dozens upon dozens with more experience in the industry than yours truly.

Sliding into the good news? Well, more opportunity-fueled, really. Right after that email, there was one from an independent film school that is also hiring. I had applied for a remote position there with the same expectations as the literary agency. I’m inexperienced but eager to learn. This time, however, they would provide paid training will the possibility of the part-time position becoming something more permanent. I’m filing this in the “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” category, and I’ll apply for the position. When one door closes, and all that, right?

I’ve fallen behind on the two 5K short stories, but I’ve still got time. One’s due on Friday and the other one Saturday. Of course, as I was busy prepping for them last weekend, I happened upon another publication opportunity that was for 2-6K due last Sunday. I still had that file open and ventured into the potentially gainful territory. Since that deadline was first, I had to take my shot there. I’ll keep you posted on the progress for that and all the other submissions.

So, I went into the final week expecting to produce two short stories and have since hopped back on track after writing a third one to squeeze into the week because, why not?

All of this, along with the notes and recent information I’ve gathered for my MG Fantasy manuscript, and I have to say this has been the most productive NaNo I’ve every done.

I’ve got plenty to keep me occupied in the months to come. I’ll be sharing more details in upcoming posts.

I hope your April was as productive as mine, if not more. I’ve got to keep the momentum going and will head straight into May with a plan and positive determination.

Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time,

T out.

WRITERLY WEDNESDAY: Camp NaNo Week Three Roundup

Welcome… and the beat goes on.

A flood of ideas can easily take you over when you’re super excited about your WIP. I spent a lot of time researching story technique, and consulted with fellow writers, agents, and other industry experts. It was important that I could see where things worked and areas that needed improvement. What I want to do can be done, but not in the amount of time I had to do it. Even after I complete the revisions, there is still the need for critique partners, beta readers, then further revisions before I could even query. Seventeen days just wouldn’t cut it and still produce a fully thought out story ready for publication.

After coming to terms with the magnitude of what I wanted to do in the short time frame I had to do it, I realized it was still a wonderful opportunity for me to learn and grow as a writer. I needed to respect all the new information I learned and the perspectives shared for me to reflect upon, that it wouldn’t be right just to cram everything into a couple of weeks and send it off. It almost feels like a “Meh. Good enough.” approach and that feels icky.

What it did help me with is provide a proper direction to work towards. That excites me. I went from thinking that I’d been the furtherest along on this writing project, to thinking I’d fallen off course, to being right back where I need to be to reach my destination. With all those ideas fresh in my mind. I’m going to return to it next month after I’ve worked on some shorter form submissions.

Here’s a quick look at what I’ve been up to on all things writerly this week during Camp NaNo:

  • Joined more writing groups with members who specialize in the field. We’re talking everything from medical procedures, fire and rescue, police interrogations, and all manner of death. They are truly aimed at helping writers stay accurate in their scenes. Hypochondriacs and potential criminals need not apply.
  • Connected with fellow writers to set up a time to beta-read/critique each other’s WIPs. Over the next couple months, I’m going to be reading my fellow writer’s amazing stories we’re all preparing to share with the world. It’s exciting.
  • Researched for upcoming short story submissions. It’s so tempting to go down the rabbit hole, but thankfully, I also asked questions in my writing groups to keep the queries focused.
  • Kept tabs on questions I threw out into the interwebs about my MG manuscript, so I know what steps to take to shine it up nice.
  • Had a great FaceTime chat with The Sestra. Caught up on what’s going on with her, spent some excited time discussing fandom, especially the highs and lows of both WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. We then brainstormed on the manuscript because she’s the one who’s the most familiar with it since its inception.

I’m already in the initial stages of drafting each short story, so I’ll be spending the final week of Camp NaNo drafting and polishing them for submission. Overall, it’s been an exciting and intensely productive April. There were pleasant surprises and new connections forged along the way. The writing continues and I can’t wait to see what stories I can conjure up by then.

Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time,

T out.

WRITERLY WEDNESDAY: Camp NaNo Week Two Roundup

Greetings from the writerly trenches!

Buckle up, Campers! Camp NaNoWriMo had some unexpected twists and turns in Week Two. I already flipped the bird to my early Camp plans when I caught a case of “the new and shiny.” My April writing plan 2.0 involved moving up my MG Fantasy WIP revisions with the aim of being query ready by April 17. This new plan included the 3Rs: review, research, and revamp naturally went off with a handful of hitches, and sometimes laced my days with some Bizarro 3Rs: react, reconsider, and regret.

Well, maybe regret is a little too harsh. Let’s switch that last one to regression.

There.

Carrying on, my wayward ones…

What I did:

  • I re-read the 67K manuscript taking note of the POV shifts, catching the odd typo here and there, and did a quick run through on story flow.
  • Did a deep dive on Asian Mythology and Folklore with primary focus on Chinese and Filipino legends.
  • Took to the online writing community to talk about POV shifts in MG.
  • Watched MG/YA panels and sought out articles and forums on the nuances of each category and the sometimes fuzzy overlap, as well as sub-genres such as Fantasy versus Speculative versus Magic Realism.
  • Looked into character voice and how writing from a certain perspective can help or hurt a story.

What I learned:

  • I had a LOT of POV characters. POV characters should have an active arc throughout the story and move the story along. i.e. they should deserve their POV status. (Girl, this ain’t Westeros. Calm down.)
  • MG Fantasy rarely has multiple POVs, anyway. And my pickle? Aside from the B Team, the two other POV characters that had the most POV chapters were the MC’s father and another adult that works for the antagonist in the story. Since we need to provide recent comps when we query, this would be a hard sell. I was informed that an MG book where this POV combo existed, an outdated technique that isn’t used anymore, was published in 1994. (Erm, but who doesn’t love a good comeback story?)
  • If I stick to a single POV, that of the 10yo boy, I need to figure out a way to tell the story I want to tell, even though major plot points occur when he’s not there. At his current age, and where the story is set, it’s almost impossible for him to be involved in that portion of the plot. (This is why the child needs help from the adults.)
  • Something important to keep in mind is that reader age and protagonist age aren’t always mutually exclusive. Just because I have a younger protagonist doesn’t mean the themes of the story would make it a Middle Grade story. Also, any substantial amount of adult POVs in kidlit might make it less relatable to the intended audience. (But, I’m still going for enjoyment at any age.)
  • A lot of MG/YA books are written in first person, present tense. There’s some debate on the effectivity of urgency over lack of the ability to include ample foreshadowing if going with present versus past tense. Along with the magical elements, I need to figure out where my story falls on the genre spectrum. The current WIP is written in 3rd person, past tense. (I ended up with more questions than answers.)

What’s next:

  • I’m okay to whittle down the POV character list, if I’m able to determine what story I’m writing. What’s the genre? Who’s this book for?
  • There’s a lot of things to consider before I can do a deep revision. This includes which POV/tense I’m going to write in, along with how the Mythology/Folklore aspects work in the story.
  • Heading into Week Three, I’m going to take a bit of a breather on this behemoth, and work on a couple anthology submissions due at the end of the month. I already got the research covered as it overlapped with my folklore perusals. I think switching gears will help keep the momentum going. (And yes, I’ll probably tinker around with this project, as well. Can’t be helped.)

Again, I don’t regret the process, at all. I definitely learned a lot, but it left me with what I’ll call educational frustration. I know my novel should be a thousand times better, taking in all this new information, but I’m slightly frustrated because I thought I was farther along than what ended up happening. So, it’s a no to sending the query this Saturday, and thank goodness for that! All I need is a ‘kick me when I’m down’ moment, when it’s a hard pass because of so many industry requirements that I need to abide by–at least until I’m a more established writer. I need to learn the rules before I can break them. (In writing, of course.)

No one said this was an immediate process. Heck, NaNos are a month long, so I know we all get that it takes time. How ‘about you? How are things in your neck of the digital woods? Hope your week has been just as eventful.

Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time,

T out.

#ROW80 Mid-Week Check-In 2013/05/15

The month is half gone. Before I know it, I’ll be hearing Christmas carols on the radio. These past couple of weeks, I tried something different. I’ve been offline more than on and, despite missing the online writing community (and, admittedly, falling behind in my workshops), it’s been a refreshing experience.

I’ve missed the analog world. Even though not everything was a leisurely pursuit, the simple fact of kickin’ it old school gave my brain and digits a much needed rest after such an intense write-a-palooza. The timing is nice, too, because July’s Camp NaNo is creeping up fast. I’d like to spend the next two weeks in continuous planning, worldbuildling, & drafting mode for my fairytale series but at a much less intense pace as April.

For the month of June, I’d like to get organized and truly prepare for Camp. Previous instalments had my prep going from a few days to just under a week. While I’ve won every NaNo I’ve joined, I think I can achieve so much more with some solid organization–with room to play, of course. And by play, I mean wiggle room, not actual play, though, fun is to be had but this tangent has fallen off another tangent…

Anyhoo, onto the Reading Challenge. THEODORE BOONE by John Grisham and THE PECULIAR by Stefan Bachmann. Two very different books and with characters from very different realities. Since, my writing has fallen in the realm of fantastical, as of late, I find myself immediately drawn to the peculiarities of THE PECULIAR. Add to that, a Harry Potter marathon on ABC Family that we had playing in the background of our hotel while in Seattle this weekend. I’m really digging the genre and hope I can sink my teeth into something special with my upcoming fairytale series. THEODORE BOONE, however, is slightly different. I’m having a bit of trouble connecting with the narrative voice. I’m still chugging through it as the plot is interesting but I hope I find some emotional pull to the characters soon. Of course, more on these books in Monday’s post for the #middlegrademay check-in on Deb Marshall’s site.

Until Sunday, fellow #ROW80 friends, Happy Hump Day and see you on the weekend!

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